DOI: 10.18536/jge.2017., Sonnenburg

Jump to: Journal of Genius and Eminence | Volume 2 Issue 2

From Zero to Hero: A Narrative Amplification of Design Thinking

Stephan Sonnenburg
Karlshochschule International University

Since the early 2000s, Design Thinking (DT) has developed into one of the most influential approaches to foster creativity and innovation (Carlgren, Elmquist, & Rauth, 2016b). However, DT’s aspiration to create radical innovation has been called into question by scholars and practitioners. This paper employs a variation of the hero’s journey to afford the DT process new perspectives and insights. The specific vantage point applied in this study helps overcome known shortcomings of DT, like a too rational step-by-step approach as well as thinking and acting in known boxes. “You can’t have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules.” (Campbell & Moyers, 1991, p. 194) Adopting the hero’s journey perspective, organizations get a better understanding of the team transformation during DT processes. The article is structured as follows: First, the multi-faceted understanding of DT, which is comprised of its mind-set, process and critical reflection, is elaborated. Second, the hero’s journey with its universally transformative potential is discussed as a missing puzzle piece. Third, inspired by narrative insights from the hero’s journey, a re-conceptualized DT process called the heroic DT journey is introduced.


Sonnenburg, S. (2017). From Zero to Hero: A Narrative Amplification of Design Thinking. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 2(2), 104-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2017.